Golf returns to Canton site
Golf Lounge 18 now open at The Shops at Farmington Valley
By Paul Palmer
CANTON – For decades, the Canton Public Golf Course was a place for duffers and scratch players alike. After more than 70 years, the course closed and the property was sold, becoming The Shops at Farmington Valley in 2004.
This winter, golf has returned to the land – and you can play any day, no matter the weather or your skill level. Golf Lounge 18 is the region’s newest indoor golf operation, offering 8 bays to play in and hundreds of courses to choose from. Imagine, braving the cold winter weather and ending up at Pebble Beach for a round that can cost as low as $37.
“We have come full circle,” said Elizabeth Ackerman, General Manager at the Shops.
Ajit Padda and his partner Purnendu Kagtada hosted a soft opening for their 6th franchise location on Nov. 17 and plan a grand opening celebration in early December.
“We had the intention of coming to greater Hartford,” said Padda. “Knowing this used to be a golf course and knowing the community of business in Canton made it an easy choice.”
Golf Lounge 18 has locations in Danbury, Fairfield, and Orange Connecticut as well as Peabody, MA and White Plains, NY. Players can rent a bay for as little as $35 an hour, select the course they want to play and tee off. Padda emphasized that the goal is to open golf to everyone in a fun, family atmosphere. “Golf is unique to certain people and we want to break that and open it up to everyone,” said the co-owner.
Set in the center of the Shops, Golf Lounge 18 occupies a large space that includes a bar, a restaurant for light meals and plenty of seating and televisions. The emphasis is on fun, no matter the age or ability of the person.
“We are open to everyone with a more social environment involving golf, music, food and family entertainment,” Padda added. Even non-golfers will find things to do.
“My family is looking forward to watching some of the upcoming World Cup here,” Ackerman said.
During the soft opening, Padda said Golf Lounge 18 has already seen lots of walk-in’s and excitement about the business. Padda said he has had people come in when they open at 7 a.m. to get in a round before work. He also says that signups for the upcoming league are the second highest for all of the Golf Lounge 18 locations.
“I had two veterans come in the other day,” Padda said. “After we talked and I explained they can come in and play 9 holes and split the cost, they asked me ‘so what’s the hook? It's too good to be true.’”
A local high school hockey team rented out 7 of the 8 bays for a night of fun and bonding and Padda said that is exactly how people should view the business.
For the serious golfer, Golf Lounge 18 offers the challenge of playing virtually at some of the world’s finest and most challenging courses. There are 250 courses to choose from, from St. Andrew’s to PGA National and international courses. Each bay has built in Artificial Intelligence to help players with range, club selection and other information. There are two golf pros at each location and lessons are available, and kids clinics will be starting up in the New Year. Padda said he wants all his locations to be connected with the community and one of the ways they do it is to sponsor a young golfer from each area where they are located.
“We want to be engaged with the community,” he said. “One of the kids we sponsor was actually at the Travelers Championship this year.” He adds that the Hartford area is 10th nationally when it comes to golfing interest.
“I am so glad to see it here,” Ackerman said. “Golf is such a great sport. It’s you and the ball and it is a beautiful spot.”
Chuck Keefe and his grandson Brayden stopped by on a recent weekday to play a round together. “I asked him if he wanted to go play 18 holes,” said Keefe. “I learned about this place at a golf tournament. Where else can you go, grab a sandwich, and play 18 holes in Hawaii inside?”
Golf Lounge 18 is located at:
110 Albany Turnpike
Suite 925 - across from Talbots
Canton, CT. 06019
Monday - Thursday 10:00am - 10:00pm
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 7:00am - 10:00pm